A Duluth man with a history of burglary to satisfy a self-professed fetish for slashing large rubber exercise balls has admitted breaking into the SMDC-Duluth Clinic West building on May 30 and slashing balls there.
Christopher Neil Bjerkness, 31, pleaded guilty Wednesday in St. Louis County District Court to third-degree burglary. As part of a plea agreement reached with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office, a charge of second-degree burglary was dismissed.
Bjerkness will spend a year at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center and participate in a sex offender treatment program, according to the plea agreement. He will be on probation for five years.
He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
In an interview last month, Bjerkness told the News Tribune that he
couldn't explain his fetish. He said he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, bipolar depression and cerebral palsy. That information was later confirmed by his adoptive parents.
Bjerkness told Duluth police he slashed the rubber balls to satisfy a sexual urge. His fetish has led to other brushes with the law. He was convicted in 2005 of first-degree criminal damage to property after getting into the Sports and Health Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth on several occasions and damaging inflatable exercise balls.
Bjerkness said his fetish for exercise balls has nothing to do with the people who work or exercise at gyms and he doesn't believe he is a threat to anyone. He is unemployed, but said he has worked mowing lawns, as a dish washer and as a telemarketer. He travels by bicycle.